Manchester Life


Manchester Life is a joint venture between a private investor and Manchester City Council which aims to make significant contribution to achieving growth and prosperity in the Ancoats and New Islington areas of Manchester through the redevelopment of brownfield sites.

Working within the Client’s design team MAC provided quantity surveying, Principal Designer and Construction Design Management Adviser services to help the phased delivery of approximately 1,000 new PRS and for sale residential units, integrated and bespoke retail offers and a multi storey car park across six sites, these included:

Cottonfield Wharf and Weavers Quay – Two mixed use developments regenerating brownfield sites to provide over 500 new build apartments, retail units and high quality landscape areas adjacent to New Islington Marina.

Murrays Mill – The conversion of Grade II and Grade II* Listed Mills and engine houses, and construction of a new fourth wing to provide exclusive apartments as well as a unique communal courtyard space.

Cutting Room Square – This development consisted of 30 apartments, 3 townhouses and a ground floor retail unit, that wrapped around a five-storey multi-storey car park all located within the conservation area of Ancoats Urban Village.

Sawmill Court - A mixed-use development adjacent to Halle St. Peters Church in Ancoats that saw the delivery of 158 PRS apartments and integrated car parking and commercial units on the first floor.

Smith Yard – 199 new build PRS units across two blocks, linked with a covered walkway, retail space at ground floor level to one of the blocks, and a row of townhouses to complement the terraced housing further along George Leigh Street on the second block.

From inception to completion of the final building took four years and involved the inclusion of a unique Advanced Apprenticeship programme working with Manchester Life and Manchester College across all construction disciplines including: contractors, planning, engineering, quantity surveying, client side and architecture.  

This scheme has helped attract and retain a number of young people enter full time employment within the construction sector.

Key challenges

These projects have been delivered in highly restricted city centre sites with a number of complex requirements which saw a close working relationship between all construction disciplines to provide:

  • A joint contractor working code
  • Consistency of specifications and quality expectations
  • Consistency of contract approach
  • Close coordination of construction works given the nearby proximity of projects and their phased delivery
  • Carefully executed intrusive works to Listed buildings
  • Where possible, enhancements to the landscape and accessibility for pedestrians and residents